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Benton County, IAGenWeb Project
The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 764-765
HIRAM W. KEARNS, a leading farmer and stock raiser occupying a fine place of two hundred and sixty-five acres in section 6, Taylor township, is the worthy representative of a stanch Scotch family which was established in Virginia in the days of the Revolutionary war. The grandfather was a native of Scotland, who resided for some years in Ireland, where he joined the British army. As a British soldier he came to America to fight against the rebellious colonists, but instead became such a warm sympathizer with their cause that he deserted the ranks of the royalists and joined those of the patriots. He was an educated and a brave man, and, after fully maintaining both traits in the war for independence, settled in Virginia as a loyal American and founder of this branch of the family. His son, Archibald Kearns, was born in the old Dominion, where he became a well-to-do planter and married a Miss Farmer. They moved to Indiana and there the wife died, mother of the following: Phoebe, who now resides in Kansas; Sarah J., who married J. W. Sanders and died at Vinton, aged about fifty-eight years; John V., who lives at Webster City, Iowa; and Thomas M., a Civil war soldier, who enlisted under Captain Shields of Vinton and died on his way home after he had completed his one hundred days' service. The second marriage of Archibald Kearns was to Eliza R. Whipple, sister of Cyrenius Whipple (whose biography is elsewhere published), but at the time of this union the widow of Mr. Gardner with two daughters. By her marriage to Mr. Kearns she had five children, as follows: One who died in infancy; Hiram W., of this personal review; Philena E., who died at the age of thirteen; Dr. Archibald J. Kearns, who is practicing at Loup City, Nebraska; and Perry N., a farmer of Jackson township, this county. The parents of this family moved from Indiana to Iowa in 1855, settling on a farm three miles west of Vinton, where the father engaged in agriculture until his death in 1865, aged sixty-eight. His second wife, who was his junior by some twenty-five years, died in 1890, also at the age of sixty-eight. She was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church and, like her husband, a quiet, unassuming, faithful Christian.

Hiram W. Kearns was only twelve years of age when Ms father died, but as he was the oldest son he manfully applied himself to the duty of assisting his good mother in the care and support the younger members of the family. Born August 14, 1853, in Warren county, Indiana, in 1855 he was brought to this county by his parents. He was reared on the home farm and there shared the family responsibilities with his mother until he was thirty-one years of age. Mr. Kearns then married and purchased a portion of his present farm, which has been his continuous home and the homestead of his family for a quarter of a century. The farm of two hundred and sixty-five acres, of which he is the owner, represents an enormous fund of hard work, common-sense economy on the part of himself and family, and sound business management; and no fair man is jealous of one who earns success through these means. Mr. Kearns has served as township trustee, is a firm Republican, and has always been as willing to give a reasonable amount of his time to public affairs as to support charitable and religious movements to the limit of his capabilities. His special form of religious faith is that of the Baptist church.

Mr. Kearns' marriage, December 3, 1884, was to Miss Maggie B. Benson, who is a native of this county, born to Henry C. and Fannie (Hilton) Benson, both pioneers of that section. The offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Kearns are as follows: Milo E., who now resides in Dallas, South Dakota; Ora H., who married J. B. Johnson, of that place; Clifford P., Henry A., Blanche K., and Florence L., who are still living at home; and one who died as an infant.

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